THE GRAPES OF WRATH by John Steinbeck In your notebook you should identify key characters, themes and motifs in the novel. You should also develop a plot summary by writing one or two sentences on each chapter you read. When you have finished your reading you should write responses to the following questions. 1. Are we meant to conclude that Tom's killing of the deputy is justified? 2. What makes Casy believe that "maybe all men got one big soul ever'body's a part of" (p. 24)? 3. Why does Steinbeck devote a chapter to the land turtle's progress on the highway? 4. Why does Pa yield his traditional position in the family to Ma? 5. What does Ma mean when she says, "Bearin' an' dyin' is two pieces of the same thing" (p. 210)? 6. As Tom leaves the family, he says, "I'll be ever'wherewherever you look" (p. 419). In what sense does he mean "everywhere"? 7. Why does Steinbeck interrupt the Joads' narrative with short chapters of commentary and description? 8. Why does Rose of Sharon smile as she feeds the starving man with milk intended for her baby? 9. What does Steinbeck mean when he writes, "In the souls of the people The Grapes of Wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage" (p. 349)? 10. Why do different characters insist at different points in the book, "A fella got to eat" (p. 344, for example)? 11. Why does the book start with drought and end with floods? 12. Is the family intact at the end of the novel? 13. Why does Uncle John set the dead baby adrift rather than bury it?
Published on Jun 2, 2012